Say "NO!" to the "drug" of Absolute Belief

by Terry 3 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Terry

    (The Grip of Belief)


    In Physics class the Professor gathers his students together on the first day of school in the gymnasium for a stunning demonstration in what he terms "absolute certainty."
    The class is naturally intrigued, curious and eager to observe.
    From the metal joist supports in the gym ceiling a cable is hanging all the way to eye-level in the center of the space; like a fireman's pole. But, at the end of this cable is a 100lb metal wrecking ball! What is this all about?

    The Professor begins his demonstration.

    "In science there are things we are so certain of we call them LAWS. They are beyond refutation. Scientists depend on them and you should too.
    For example..." the Professor walks over to the wrecking ball and continues talking...
    "Sir Isaac Newton discovered the principle that to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is called a LAW of MOTION." The Professor gazes around at the students who are still anticipating something extraordinary to come.
    "There is also a Law of Conservation of Energy. All it means is that you never get more out of a system than you put into it. In other words, there is no free ride!"
    Then with a sly smile he concludes: "Who believes what I said is true?"
    All hands go up easily. The Professor smiles.

    "How many of you are ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN?"
    Nobody hesitates; all hands stay up.
    "Very well, let me test your convictions about certainty and belief. I need a volunteer."
    An athletic jock-type student ambles forward with a mock macho swagger.

    "Okay, here is what I'm going to do. I'm going to have you step 10 feet back away from this 100 lb. wrecking ball."

    The student complies despite the sniggering and smart aleck comments of his class mates.

    "Now, I'm going to push this ball forward until it is one inch from your nose."
    The Professor grabs the ball and pushes slowly as he walks toward the student until the ball almost touches his face.
    "I am going to let go of this wrecking ball and it is going to swing backward all the way to the other side about 10 feet and pause and move forward again BACK TOWARD YOUR FACE."
    The jock shakes his head like he's just heard really unbelievably bad news. The students grow loud and agitated.
    "Since you believe that the Law of Conservation will not allow this ball to come any closer than it is now, you cannot possibly have your head smashed to a bloody pulp by the impact. For that would mean more energy somehow crept into the system; which science tells us is impossible."
    Immediately the volunteer vanishes back into the crowd who "boo's" him unmercifully.
    "Anybody else want to show their faith in science?" Several candidates are unwillingly offered by the crowd but each one shakes loose and declines in protest.

    "Very well then. I myself will demonstrate Absolute Certainty."
    And with that the Professor holds the ball in front of his nose and lets go.

    The ball arcs directly away from him in a ponderously slow heave across the gym and pauses 20 feet away. With the sure swiftness of a freight train it hurls ominously forward on a dead ahead path toward the Professor's fragile skull! At the last possible millisecond the ball pauses at maximum arc a little more than an inch from his outstretched nose and swings ever back again!

    Dead silence, then groans, screams and a cheer as the dramatic demonstration came to a close. Thunderous applause ensued as the students hailed the extreme bravery of their Professor.

    "Why are you cheering? It was impossible that I could be hurt. I knew that but you didn't know it. Why? Because my Absolute Certainty trumps your so-called "belief." You said you believed the Laws of Conservation but, you only had a weak shadow of it in your mind. You were actually shocked and amazed when I wasn't fractured into bits!"

    "Until you recognize the difference between "thinking" something is true and absolutely "believing" it--you haven't learned today's lesson at all."


    How do animals (or humans) learn?
    Cause and effect make a huge impression on the brain. In effect: IF I do THIS, then (I observe) THAT happens. RITUAL behavior is born.

    In certain primitive societies it is believed that dancing brings rain. This belief stems from the fact somebody (long, long ago) was dancing when rain broke out.
    The next time there was a drought, dancing was begun.
    If no rain came it did NOT disprove the belief. No, it Reinforced it!
    How? The dance was continued (as long as it took) until the rain came and the ritual was proved to be true! Ritual trumped reality!
    Today in laboratories, mice and pigeons are trained to perform certain ritual behaviors and then given a reward of food when the ritual is completed.
    But, notice this! If the reward is DIScontinued... the ritual behavior continues and even INCREASES!

    This is what research scientists actually call "Superstition."

    The mouse or pigeon superstitiously continues a worthless behavior because the conditioning won't go away; behavior continues long after the disproof of its worth!
    Among human beings the same course is often observed. A man will win a bowling tournament wearing a certain shirt and immediately the shirt becomes part of a superstitious belief system; a ritual. The shirt is now his "lucky" shirt. He won't bowl without it!
    The brain is conditioned so easily mainly because a ritual behavior that produces food seldom does any harm. It costs only time and little energy. In short: the "possibility" of reward outweighs the loss of time and energy in performing a superstitious ritual.

    Further, statistical analysis of the accuracy of "intuitive" or "gut" feeling predictions show them to be wrong 85% of the time! Yet, the majority of people continue to place far more TRUST in these methods than in rational analysis.

    Perhaps it can be compared to skydiving. The skydiver has faith their parachute will open and consequently leaps out of an airplane and plunges headlong toward destruction below. All this is done for the absolute thrill of sensation and the rush of endorphins. Flirtation with death and taking control of one's mortality brings a tidal wave of ecstatic emotion! After such a leap the skydiver often reports they "have never felt more alive!"

    SAY NO! to the drug of absolute certainty.
    The costs are the really "high."


    From my book: I WEPT BY THE RIVERS of BABYLON
    ( A Prisoner of Conscience in a Time of War).


    Note: For some reason, Amazon has increased the price on my books.
    It can be obtained cheaper at

    I WEPT by the RIVERS of BABYLON (A Prisoner of Conscience in a Time of War)

  • truth_b_known

    That is pretty awesome, Terry!

  • Finkelstein

    Yes and the JWS get themselves in trouble because they were mentally indoctrinated to believe in ancient mythology expressions with little critical thinking to why those expressions were done so in their inherent reason and intent.

    Thinking should always come before belief or a human folly will no doubt ensue.

  • Terry
    truth_b_known6 hours ago

    That is pretty awesome, Terry!

    I appreciate your kind words.

    About a year and a half ago, I finally located one of my cherished mentors from prison days.
    We all pretty much lost touch with each other and that's lamentable.
    I knew this brother was extremely zealous. I was reluctant to speak to him--unless--he had faded.
    Asking around over a period of months I heard rumors - confidential, of course - he was unbuckling the straitjacket of Watchtower indentured servitude.
    I plunged in and took a chance.
    We had a terrific conversation. That is - for about ten minutes. Then, he dropped some "Jehovah" phrases of praise and my heart sunk low.
    Big sigh.
    I decided I'd break off and tell him I'd continue with an e-mail.
    After we hung up - I sent him the most sincere letter I could manage to compose explaining my transition from the days of imprisonment up to the time I left the Organization forever. I kept it personal rather than ranty.
    I told him I was including the PDF of my book and highlighted that he was fondly mentioned inside.
    "If you decide you'd be comfortable continuing our talk - please either call me or e-mail."
    That's how I left it.
    Naturally, I heard nothing.
    Then, a some months back, I came across the Obituary mentioning his death.
    I cried.
    (From my FACEBOOK post that day)


    Just got word one of my favorite friends died a year ago!
    He remained a devout Jehovah's Witness--so--he could not/would not speak to me. I loved him very much.
    We were in prison together.

    He was my mentor. He was an intellectual firebrand.
    When I was assaulted, he's the one who went to prison authorities and snitched. (I refused to do it.)

    It was he, Tollie Padget, who gathered six of the toughest looking JW's and surrounded my assailant and gave him a good talking to. (I smile at that...we were there as non-violent folks, you see. Words were our only weapons.)

    Tollie showed me what a Great Teacher was all about.
    I patterned myself as closely as possible after him.
    Tollie was 3 years older than the rest of us. He was a college graduate with, I think, a degree in Physics.
    He had given up Science to become a JW. He attended the JW Missionary school, Gilead. He served as a missionary in Chile until he became too ill to continue.

    What a guy!
    Four years after we were paroled, the END of 6,000 years of human existence was supposed to happen--immediately followed by the Thousand Year Reign of Christ.
    (Spoiler Alert: it didn't happen.)
    I turned away from the cult and pursued the Art career end of things. Tollie didn't flinch.

    Just think about that, will you?
    His religion predicted THE END and he remained another 40 years thinking it was going to come "soon."
    I called Tollie on the phone about 2 or 3 years ago.
    I heard rumors he was mentally free of the religion.

    He was happy to hear my voice.
    We chatted for about fifteen minutes until---
    He said something or other--it was the statement of a devout True-Believer!
    Oh, no.
    I made an excuse to go and promised to e-mail him.
    You see...
    I just didn't want to have "THAT" conversation with him.
    You know, the one where I'm an Apostate and he has to disconnect from me because I'm going to die at Armageddon?
    I wrote him instead and included a copy of my prison biography--(with a chapter on Tollie).
    I invited him to read it and we'd discuss things---If he so chose.

    He did not.
    Image may contain: 1 person, smiling
    Now...he's gone. So many of my band of Brothers are dead and gone. They died waiting on the bus that doesn't come.

    Wherever you are, Tollie my good friend--I love you

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